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EPA and DOJ settlement upholds integrity of Clean Air Act

02/18/2020
Contact Information: 
Laura Jenkins (Jenkins.Laura@epa.gov)
3033126256

Contact Information:
Laura Jenkins (Jenkins.Laura@epa.gov)
303-312-6256

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

EPA and DOJ Settlement with U.S. Development Group et al. Upholds Integrity of Clean Air Act Permitting Program

U.S. Development Group et al. to pay $2.4 million penalty

DENVER – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that US Development Group, LLC (USDG), and its subsidiaries USD, LLC (USDL) and CBRH Holdings, LLC (CBRH), will collectively pay $2.4 million in penalties to resolve violations of the Clean Air Act associated with the Van Hook Crude Terminal crude oil transloading facility the companies formerly owned and operated in Mountrail County, North Dakota on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. EPA’s enforcement action arose as a result of the companies constructing and operating the terminal before receiving a permit to construct and operate, a clear violation of the Clean Air Act (CAA).

The companies submitted a CAA Tribal Minor New Source Review permit application to EPA on October 5, 2011, and the permit was issued by EPA on August 2, 2012, with an effective date of September 1, 2012. Notwithstanding their not yet having received a permit to construct and operate, the companies began constructing the terminal in or around October 2011, and then began operating the facility in early February 2012, more than six months before the permit was issued and became effective.

The companies also violated several New Source Performance Standard (NSPS) requirements in 40 C.F.R. Part 60, Subparts A and Kb that applied to the facility’s storage tanks, including failing to notify EPA prior to commencement of construction of, and subsequent filling of, the tanks so that EPA could inspect the tanks to ensure their proper construction and suitability for use.

“EPA is continuing to take action to ensure compliance with the Clean Air Act,” said EPA Regional Administrator Gregory Sopkin. “We value our special relationship with the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, as well as the other Region 8 Tribes, and will act to secure cleaner, healthier air for all Region 8 Tribes and their neighbors.”

"The Clean Air Act’s permitting requirements are critical to the protection of our Nation’s air resource. When companies violate these requirements by commencing construction and operation without first obtaining a permit to do so, they avoid the critical agency review and public input that ensures facilities are constructed in a manner that will optimally protect human health and the environment,” said EPA Region 8 Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Director Suzanne Bohan.

USDG, USDL, and CBRH sold the Van Hook Crude Terminal to Plains All American Pipeline, L.P, in December 2012. Plains ceased operating the terminal some time ago and sold its interest to another party that now transports fracking sand in and out of the facility. The storage tanks and related equipment have been dismantled.

Today’s Stipulation of Settlement and Order (Stipulation) was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, where the companies are headquartered. The Stipulation resolves the United States’ civil penalty claims against the companies for the violations set forth in the complaint that was also filed today. The companies have 30 days from the date the court enters the Stipulation to pay the $2.4 million civil penalty to the United States.

More about EPA’s civil enforcement of the Clean Air Act: https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/air-enforcement